POSTED: February 3, 2016

Inequality in cultural production and cultural consumption

New publication by Kate Oakley & Dave O’Brien
Free access until end of April

CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 :: B.C. Lorio / Flickr

Kate Oakley & Dave O’Brien (2016): Learning to labour unequally: understanding the relationship between cultural production, cultural consumption and inequality. Social Identities, Jan 2016.

Inequality has become essential to understanding contemporary society and is at the forefront of media, political and practice discussions of the future of the arts, particularly in the UK. Whilst there is a wealth of work on traditional areas of inequality, such as those associated with income or gender, the relationship between culture, specifically cultural value, and inequality is comparatively under-researched.

The article by Kate Oakley and Dave O’Brien considers inequality and cultural value from two points of view: how cultural value is consumed and how it is produced.  The paper argues that these two activities are absolutely essential to understanding the relationship between culture and social inequality, but that the two activities have traditionally been considered separately in both academic research and public policy, despite the importance of culture to British and  thus international policy agendas. The article uses the example of higher education in the UK to think through the relationship between cultural consumption and production. In doing, so the article maps out a productive possibility for a new research agenda, by sketching where and how research might link cultural  consumption  and  production  to  better  understand inequality.

The full paper is available for download on Taylor and Francis Online, and can be accessed for free until the end of April. 

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